Marijuana Business Magazine March 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2019 72 Pioneering Advice “Make compliance a part of your business from Day One,” he said. “It’s absolutely critical to meet regulatory standards.” To do that, he recommends retail store owners build and document tight standard operating procedures for their employees and all those up and down the company’s supply chain. “Operators shouldn’t rely on one compliance person,” he added. “Instead, they should instill it throughout the company culturally.” Denver-based cannabis attorney Rachel Gillette, who often helps clients with compliance-related issues, points out that running a marijuana company isn’t the same as running other types of businesses. “Everything business owners do has a regulatory overlay,” she said. Even traditional tasks such as setting up banking services is a minefield of challenges for a marijuana business given the federal government’s MJ prohibition. 4. Build your brand by focusing on your strengths and developing a unique product. To set yourself apart in a crowded field, your product-based company will live or die on the strength of its brand. Nancy Whiteman, founder and CEO of Boulder-based Wana Brands, suggests finding a product category in which you can excel—but don’t try to cover too much ground. “First-mover advantage is real, but you still have to have a great product to succeed,” she said. “Make your brand stand for something.” Whiteman wanted Wana to be associated with quality and consistency. So, she had her lab test every batch of tincture so the company could dose its products precisely. “It really started our reputation for having products that are always consistent,” she added. Wana also hired a full-time training specialist and developed a range of training programs for budtenders and the general public to ensure the company was providing high-quality educational information. Peter Barsoom, CEO of Denver-based edibles company 1906, suggests creating a product that is new and different to the current marketplace. 1906, for example, offers cannabis-infused peanut butter cups. “I would encourage people getting into developing industries to define your focus early on,” he added. “Then do it really, really well.” 1906 focused on quality and predictable effects with its edibles from the outset. It also branded its products as “fast-acting,” which helped to define the direction of the company’s offerings from the get-go. For Lloyd Meador, co-founder of Boulder-based infused product company Marqaha, research can lead to good results for building your brand. “Learn everything you can in order to create a product line with a purpose,” he said. “Focus on formulations that are unique to your brand’s vision.” Bob Eschino of Medically Correct Courtesy Photo Nancy Whiteman of Wana Brands Courtesy Photo Peter Barsoom of 1906 Courtesy Photo